Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura

This was the night that we realize they don’t have much in the way of blankets on the beds in NZ as every bed has an electric blanket! We head out the next day to a famous place called Hanmer Springs. There are hotsprings here and they have many different pools of differing temperatures. It is absolutely pouring rain while we are there, but the sunshades also act as rain shades.

We sleep in Ruthie and head out the next day to try to catch the whales in a place off the northeast coast of the South Island called Kaikoura. On our way out of town we find a great little woolshop and pick up a Merino wool sweater for my Dad and another great zip up sweater for John – the first thing other than masks that he has bought since Cambodia. I am navigator and take us on the most winding road we have been on yet. We arrive in Kaikoura about 11:30 for our 12:45 time but the seas are too rough for the whale watching.

We go for lunch at an Irish pub called Donegal House and there is a huge fire in the hearth and all kinds of old pictures of the original Irish family on the walls. We ask about rooms and get the winter rate that includes breakfast and free wireless internet. This is great news as David is now full bore into Physics and Cathy into her last bits of Math.

We have supper in front of the roaring fire with a DVD on the screen with a guy by the name of Danny O’Donnell singing all kinds of songs that my Dad has sung all of my life. A little karaoke is all we need. Dave and John finally get to have some lobster. It is horrendously expensive due to all of the limitations and quotas that have been introduced in the last 10 years here.

The next morning we dodge the resident peahen and her piles of poop and the ducks and stare in wonder at what this place would be like in the sunshine of summer. I am going to try to convince the Rice’s to come in the summer and stay here.

The next day our whale-watching is cancelled again, so we buy the great fleece-lined coats they have and head for the ferry for the North Island.

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